Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hotel Castro, Cotabato City

I was not leaving Cotabato City just yet, but, I fled away from this ‘hotel’ ASAP! At 7:52AM. Yes, very early on a Sunday morning! Here’s the story…

While still in Manila, I flipped through my Lonely Planet book and checked out hotels in Cotabato that they recommend. I saw this Hotel Castro as the most ideal of the three listed. Not the cheapest but not the most expensive either. So it was supposed to be in the middle. Reason probably why it was mentioned second of the three. [See picture for exact image of page]. Called the hotel up, talked to a certain Honey of front desk and voila, I had my reservation for a single room at P500 a day!

On arrival, as I was checking-in, I casually asked why and when did they close their restaurant. Honey was a bit surprised and told me “as I said yesterday when you called up sir, wala kaming restaurant”. So I did not pursue the topic since it was nothing really. I knew and know that I could easily get food outside if I wanted to. But for the first time, I started to cast doubts on the freshness of information in my Lonely Planet book 9th Edition. Its supposed to be the latest (green cover) and I have just ‘shelved’ my 8th Edition (orange cover). Hmm. Anyway, I was already there and paid my P500 for an overnight stay.

I was given that single room (202) just beside front desk and I thought that was cool. But entering the room, I did not feel like it should cost the way it does. And I thought it did not deserve the kind of mention on Lonely Planet. Should not even deserve a mention other than “avoid at all costs” hehe. The headboard was dusty and it looked filthy. The side table was/is awash with cigarette burns and vandalized. The phone was dusty and it sits right beside the small TV without remote control, sitting beside a supposedly new aircon unit that sings louder than the TV! Wires haphazardly crisscross, and they had the nerve to put a black monoblock chair in front of that desk. Well, probably to sit face-toface with the box since there is no remote control hehe.

At least the olden bedsheet and pillowcase smelled and looked they just came from the laundry. And the pink towel was still thick and new. You could hear voices from the front desk and from other rooms though. Early evening to nighttime the place bustles with a lot of check-in and check-out. I gathered and confirmed it with the guard that indeed this place was a “short-time” favorite of many folks. He even told me to just tell him “if I wanted”! Jesumalosep! And I thought I was crazily hallucinating when I heard some moans, oohs and aahs from somewhere.

Entering the room, it was hard trying to insert and turn the room key on its knob. The clincher was when I returned from my nightout shortly after midnight. I could not anymore turn the key to open that door. So I went to front desk and sought the assistance of the ‘kind’ guard who was the only person manning said counter. Without any hint of hesitation, he got the key from me, inserted it hard into its socket and yanked it away. Voila! That small rounded thing in the middle of the knob where the key is inserted went away with the key. Guard then inserted his finger into the hollow, I heard a click and the door opened. Whew! Then he replaced the part into the knob making it look like nothing happened to it, and gave me back my key. The beautiful thing is there is no other lock from inside the room other than thru the said knob.

I asked what happens the following day when I return from roaming. Guard told me to just look for him or whoever is the guard on duty. They’d know what to do. Ah, in the morning. I checked-out and transferred to a more decent hotel!

Let’s continue my roam, shall we? That’s coming up next!

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